filed under: economics of trails

Leveraging Outdoor Recreation to Revitalize Rural Economies

Together rural communities, land managers, agencies, and counties are creating a vision to leverage the power of outdoor recreation to strengthen main street revitalization, contributing to stewardship of public lands and creating new opportunities for prosperity.

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Event Details

** This event has passed **

Tuesday, June 02, 2020

10:00 AM to 11:30 AM (Pacific Time) {more time zones}

11:00 AM to 12:30 PM (Mountain Time)
12:00 PM to 01:30 PM (Central Time)
01:00 PM to 02:30 PM (Eastern Time)


FREE for members
FREE for nonmembers

Learning Credit Cost:

  • CEUs are FREE for this webinar.
  • Note:

    Closed Captioning is available for this webinar.
    Learning Credits
    are available for this webinar.


    Webinar Outline

    The California Trails and Greenways webinar series is offered in coordination with California State Parks and the California Trails Conference Foundation, with content selected from the California Trails and Greenways 2020 program.

    The webinar series is offered FREE to the trails community THANKS TO the generous support of:

    About this webinar:

    Q&A: The presenters will open up the floor to attendee questions following each of their presentations. We welcome attendees to send questions in advance when registering for the webinar (either during the registration process or via email).

    Outdoor recreation is a growing contributor to the economy in many communities and also provides an opportunity for residents and visitors alike to improve their wellness and connection to natural resources and the environment. But did you know that recreation can also be a driver for main street revitalization? This webinar will share stories from the new EPA Recreation Economy for Rural Communities planning assistance program, a federal partnership between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Forest Service to support rural communities that are leveraging the power of outdoor recreation to revitalize their main streets and diversify their economies. Through the first round of this program, ten small towns across the country are bringing together community leaders, outdoor recreation businesses, residents, and other partners to plan for the future of outdoor recreation in their community’s story. These communities are building new trail systems and connecting them to downtown, engaging diverse groups of community residents who have not been traditionally engaged in community planning, and tackling how to conserve the resources that make their community special.

    In this webinar, we will hear from EPA about the Recreation Economy for Rural Communities program and from a representative of one of the partner communities – Jasper, Alabama – about how this community is leveraging outdoor recreation and supporting downtown revitalization. We will also hear from the USDA Forest Service about how it is working in California to collaboratively envision, create, and maintain the trail system by engaging communities to implement community trail priorities. Together communities, land managers, agencies, and counties are creating a vision to preserve and celebrate the character of communities, contribute to land stewardship of public lands, and create new opportunities for prosperity. Come ready to be inspired with ideas you can take home to your community!

    CEUs are FREE for this webinar.

    Learning Objectives

    • Learn about a new federal partnership that is supporting local communities as they leverage outdoor recreation for main street revitalization and economic diversification.
    • Be inspired by community stories from places that are implementing innovative approaches to community engagement, natural resource conservation, and economic development.
    • Be challenged to think broadly about unlocking the full potential of outdoor recreation in your community, in terms of resulting diversity and inclusion, building new partnerships, improving


    Webinar Partners


    Stephanie Bertaina, Senior Policy Analyst, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of Community Revitalization

    Stephanie Bertaina is a Senior Policy Analyst with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of Community Revitalization in Washington DC, where she works with rural communities and small towns to build vibrant, healthy, sustainable, and inclusive neighborhoods and downtowns. Stephanie coordinates the Recreation Economy for Rural Communities program, which is partnering with rural communities across the country to help them leverage the power of outdoor recreation to diversify local economies and revitalize main streets. Stephanie also created the Healthy Places for Healthy People program, which helps community leaders partner with health care facilities to create walkable, healthy, and economically vibrant places that improve people’s health and well-being. Stephanie has also managed Local Foods, Local Places, a multi-federal agency initiative that has helped over 100 cities and towns leverage the power of local food to support local economies and thriving downtowns. Stephanie received an M.S. in Environmental Policy and Planning from the University of Michigan and Bachelor degrees from Westmont College.


    Garrett Villanueva, Regional Trail and Travel Management Program Leader, USDA Forest Service

    Garrett Villanueva has worked with the US Forest Service since 1998. His passion and full time job is with trails and land stewardship. While Garrett likes nothing more than to dig in the dirt, his job has evolved from technical and trail design to trail operations, policy and partnerships. He currently leads the trail program for the US Forest Service for the Pacific Southwest Region encompassing the beautiful state of California. Garrett has been invited to participate with land managers in both Israel and Brazil in trail management and worked with complex trail issues throughout California. In his free time he enjoys Nordic and alpine skiing, cycling, hiking, paddle boarding and surfing with his family.


    Elyse Peters, Assistant Vice President for Community Impact, United Way of Central Alabama
    Jasper, Alabama

    Elyse Peters is the Assistant Vice President for Community Impact for United Way of Central Alabama. Since 2014, Elyse’s main role has been to manage the Walker County Health Action Partnership, a coalition of agencies, businesses and individuals working together to make Walker County, Alabama a healthier place to live, learn, work and play. Alabama has many best-kept secrets, and one of them is our diverse natural beauty. Through public-private partnerships, the Livable Communities partners have been successful in expanding existing outdoor recreation spaces as well as identifying new opportunities to get people outside and physically active. Last year, local partners identified the RERC as a chance to connect this growing demand for outdoor recreation with local economies and our budding Downtown.

    Elyse is a graduate of the University of Alabama’s New College program, were she received her depth study in Environmental Justice and Civic Engagement. Elyse was a recipient of the 2019 Hulet Hornbeck Emerging Leaders Scholarship Program through American Trails.


    Webinar Resources

    EPA’s Recreation Economy for Rural Communities Program

    EPA's Office of Community Revitalization

    Walker County Health Action Partnership

    Walker County Health Action Partnership Facebook Page

    Jasper, Alabama Main Street

    Jasper, Alabama Main Street Facebook

    National Forest Strategy for Sustainable Trail Systems

    National Forest System Trails Resource Page

    Environmental Protection Agency – Recreation Economy for Rural Communities

    United Way of Central Alabama

    USDA Forest Service

    Follow EPA on Twitter HERE

    Subscribe to EPA's smart growth listserv by sending a blank email to: [email protected]

    Closed Captioning

    We are offering closed captioning for our webinars, thanks to a partnership with VZP Digital. If you are in need of this service, please email us prior to the webinar. An unedited transcript will be sent to all attendees following the webinar.

    Learning Credits and CEUs

    American Trails is proud to be a certified provider of the following learning credits and continuing education opportunities:

    • American Institute of Certified Planners Continuing Maintenance (AICP CM)
    • Landscape Architecture Continuing Education System (LA CES PDH)
    • National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) CEU equivalency petition
    • CEU/PDH equivalency petition for other accepting organizations

    Learning credits are free for American Trails webinars and are either free or a $15 fee for other conferences, webinars, or workshops.


    While we may individually agree (or disagree) in whole or in part with any or all of the participants, the views expressed in these webinars are not necessarily representative of the views of American Trails as an organization or its board and staff.

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